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Unprecedented floods and droughts bring new challenges for risk reduction, as is clear from this analysis of the drivers of changing impacts in many cases worldwide, with implications for efficient governance and investment in integrated management.
An analysis of basal-friction variability across western Greenland shows melt forcing influences bed strength in opposite ways in northern and southern Greenland, establishing melt has an important role in ice-sheet evolution that is mainly dictated by whether a region is land or marine terminating.
High-resolution images derived from airborne geophysical data reveal critical aspects of the Yellowstone hydrothermal system, which can be used to assess geochemical models of the evolution of thermal fluids worldwide.
The core North American monsoon arises through topographic steering of the jet stream, and should be considered as convection-enhanced orographic rainfall produced by a mechanically forced stationary wave.
An intensity−duration−frequency model linking food shock risk to supply chain diversity in the USA finds that boosting a city’s food supply chain diversity increases the resistance of a city to food shocks of mild to moderate severity.
Using a global mass-balance approach to calculate evapotranspiration, it is shown that global land evapotranspiration increased by 10% between 2003 and 2019, driven mainly by warming land temperatures.
Analysis of satellite stereo imagery uncovers two decades of mass change for all of Earth’s glaciers, revealing accelerated glacier shrinkage and regionally contrasting changes consistent with decadal climate variability.
Data from the ICESat-2 satellite quantifying the variability of water levels in natural and human-managed water bodies show that a disproportionate majority of global water storage variability occurs in human-managed reservoirs.
Unexpected intervals of low 230Th concentration in marine sediment cores are explained by considering that during at least two such periods, the Arctic Ocean and Nordic seas were composed entirely of fresh water and covered by a thick ice shelf.
Applying a bias correction to a state-of-the-art dataset covering non-alpine regions of the Northern Hemisphere and to three other datasets yields a more constrained quantification of snow mass in March from 1980 to 2018.
The worldwide distribution and water supply of water towers (snowy or glacierized mountain ranges) is indexed, showing that the most important water towers are also the most vulnerable to socio-economic and climate-change stresses, with huge potential negative impacts on populations downstream.
Estimates for when critical environmental streamflow limits will be reached—with potentially devastating economic and environmental effects—are obtained using a global model that links groundwater pumping with the groundwater flow to rivers.
A global dataset of river longitudinal profiles shows that river profiles become straighter with increasing aridity and numerical modelling suggests that this can be explained by rainfall–runoff regimes in different climate zones.
Analysis of a comprehensive European flood dataset reveals regional changes in river flood discharges in the past five decades that are consistent with models suggesting that climate-driven changes are already happening.
Analysis of multidecadal hydrograph and precipitation data for sub-Saharan Africa shows a complex relationship between groundwater recharge and precipitation, and that a drier climate does not necessarily mean less recharge.
Analysis of forest-management studies finds that forest removal is more likely to increase streamflow in areas with greater water storage between the surface and bedrock, and that forest planting is more likely to decrease streamflow in drier climates.
Even in the absence of external perturbations, waterfalls can gradually form from planar bedrock riverbeds as a result of unstable interactions between flow hydraulics, sediment transport and bedrock erosion.
The High Plains region of North America is in a transient state, with a younger, efficient network of river channels progressively cannibalizing an older, less efficient region, aiding water retention for wetlands and groundwater recharge.
Analysis of 2002–2016 GRACE satellite observations of terrestrial water storage reveals substantial changes in freshwater resources globally, which are driven by natural and anthropogenic climate variability and human activities.
A suite of river discharge, tree-ring, sedimentary and climate data shows that the Mississippi’s flood magnitude has risen by about twenty per cent over the past half-century, largely owing to engineering works.
Climate change has the potential to erode coastlines, but a rediscovered archive of aerial photographs from the Second World War shows that in southern Greenland, deltas have recently extended seaward.
Models show that even if global temperature rise can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, only about 65 per cent of glacier mass will remain in the high mountains of Asia by the end of this century, and if temperatures rise by more than this the effects will be much more extreme.
On the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica, a surface river that terminates in a waterfall can drain the ice shelf’s entire annual meltwater in just one week, potentially preventing the meltwater from hastening the catastrophic collapse of the shelf.
Global food consumption drives irrigation for crops, which depletes aquifers in some regions; here we quantify the volumes of groundwater depletion associated with global food production and international trade.
Oxygen isotope records derived from stalagmites in the eastern Amazon reveal that rainfall was about half of today’s during the Last Glacial Maximum but half again as much during the mid-Holocene, broadly coinciding with global changes in temperature and carbon dioxide.